As the Earth spins faster, scientists are considering taking a second off our clocks

As the Earth spins faster, scientists are considering taking a second off our clocks
The distinction between atomic and astronomical time challenges technologists. (illustrative image information)

In an unprecedented milestone, Universal timekeepers may be forced to adjust our clocks by moving them back a secondKnown as “Negative Leap Second”Because of the cycle in 2029 landIt is accelerating. According to a study published in the journal NatureThis is the first time in history that the need to subtract time from our clocks has been contemplated, highlighting an extraordinary period in Earth dynamics.

“We're headed for a negative leap; “it's just a matter of when. Dennis McCarthyEx-Time Director US Naval Observatorywho did not participate in the study.

The study was conducted under the leadership of Duncan AgnewGeophysicist Scripps Institution of Oceanography of University of California Inside San DiegoThis unprecedented event is attributed to several factors, including changes in Earth's warm liquid core and the rapid melting of polar ice.

“It's not a big change in rotation land It may lead to some disaster, but it is a significant one. “This is another sign that we live in a very unusual time,” Agnew noted. This process reflects how minute variations in the distribution of mass and energy within the planet can have clear effects on our sense of time.

Since atomic clocks were adopted as the official time standard 55 years ago, a contradiction has developed between astronomical and atomic time.

Astronomical time lags atomic time by 2.5 milliseconds each day, primarily due to tides created by lunar gravity. To compensate, from 1972 international timekeepers began adding extra seconds called leap seconds. However, recent acceleration land This has led to the possibility of counter-adjustment.

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“What is the need for this timely fix when it causes so much trouble?” asked McCarthy, pointing to the problems leap seconds have caused in global computer systems.

ABC News In 2012, he recalled that critical systems fixes, platforms and companies were hit with problems. reddit, Linux And Qantas Airlines. The situation is further complicated by the satellite system of Russia Astronomy depends on time, which can cause problems if leap seconds are removed.

Current technologies make combining leap seconds complicated. (illustrative image information)

To address these challenges, in 2022, global timekeepers decided to change the standards for inserting or removing a leap second starting in the 2030s, so that its use would be much less common. Meanwhile, tech companies want Google And Amazon They have implemented their own solutions to the problem, “stretching” fractions of a second over an entire day.

CBS News He noted that experts are divided on whether implementing a negative leap second is really necessary due to the unpredictability of factors affecting the Earth's rotation.

“It is not a process in which the past is a good predictor of the future.” expresses Judah LevinPhysical division of time and frequency National Institute of Standards and Technologysuggesting that long-term trends are difficult to accurately predict.

Arzu Daniel

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